A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

Rodeo Shocker!

An animal protection group has blown the whistle on the rodeo industry with video footage of cowboys giving electric shocks to the horses as they open the gate into the ring. [readon]

The propaganda from the rodeo industry is that the horses enjoy bucking and jumping – they’re having fun. So why do they need electric shocks? At the Reno Rodeo, the practice is prohibited (it’s allowed elsewhere), but SHARK (Showing Animals Respect and Kindness) has released a new video showing one of the cowboys giving a prod to each of the horses as the gate is opened. Here’s the video, with nine clips of this happening, the horses leaping as they’re shocked, and the cowboy laughing.

(The video continues with calf roping, and the scene is distressing to watch.)

When Reno Rodeo spokesman Steve Schroeder was shown the video, he told the  Reno Gazette Journal, “It is true, that guy is shocking horses, and we’re not OK with that.”

The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association allows electric shocks, but the Reno Rodeo doesn’t want them, Schroeder said. The PRCA position on shocks — or “hot shots” — trumps the Reno Rodeo’s preference when an animal won’t leave a stall.

Even so, he said, this situation was seen in only two of the video clips. In the seven other clips, “the horses were not in a situation where a shock would’ve been called for.”

“The animals are trained so when the chute opens they know to buck off a cowboy — that’s their job,” Schroeder said. “They hear the music and fans, and they know what’s expected of them. They’re very intelligent. The shock doesn’t improve or enhance their performance, which is part of why we don’t want it.”

[Stuart Chaifetz of SHARK] disagreed, saying that a recent New Jersey rodeo knew SHARK was coming to monitor so it instituted a shock ban “and most of the horses didn’t perform. The animals want to be left alone, they don’t want to be hurt.”

Schroeder said the video has been forwarded to the PRCA, which promised to investigate.